Wednesday 15 September 2010

Dirty tricks in the war on gamekeepers

A gamekeeper implicated in the poisoning of a red kite has contacted the press to protest his innocence.

The un-named keeper on the Edradynate Estate in Tayside told the Courier: "As a member of the Scottish Gamekeepers' Association, I am against anything illegal. Anybody who does this should be jailed because it's not on and I have never done anything like this in my life. To find a poisoned bird on my ground is just wrong because I don't use poison and wouldn't know how to. There is something funny about this and I think someone else has killed this bird and planted it on my estate."

He adds that he has never seen a red kite, living or dead, in the Strathtay valley - and that the laird is desperately upset because it besmirches the estate's reputation.

Naturally enough, the Gamekeeper Persecution Group is highly cynical. But calling the papers for a lengthy discussion doesn't sound like the actions of a guilty man to me. With a long history of nastiness surrounding the whole business of bird of prey "persecution", I suspect there's more to this than meets the eye. Fortunately it falls within the jurisdiction of Alan Stewart, a man who has a deep understanding of the issues, and commonsense in abundance.

UPDATE: I've now spoken to several people living within a few miles of this spot - without exception they tell me there are NO red kites in the area. I smell a (poisoned) rat.


Alan Tilmouth said...

James you missed the question mark from your post title or do you have evidence that there has been 'Dirty Tricks'. Strikes me that given the past history of that estate there would appear to be an overwhelming amount of previous to suggest that some individuals, maybe not the man that has gone to the papers, have been involved in the deliberate and systematic poisoning of birds of prey. Or maybe someone has just been trying to get them into trouble for the last 15 years eh.

James Marchington said...

Given the estate's history, it certainly sounds like someone close to the estate had a habit of chucking poison about. And up the road, some Jacobites killed a good few government troops a while back too. We should probably lock them all up just to be on the safe side.

Alan Tilmouth said...

Probably a good idea as they'll only start thinking they can govern themselves and end up kicking all the rich English out.

James Marchington said...

That's sorted then. Now for the middle east...

vicky said...

Can history never be history? Would an estate with a rap sheet for poisoning really clean up it's act then do it again? At least you'd expect them to clean up better!

Meconopsis said...

They are only birds!

How can a drug driving Range Rover owner just get 8 weeks in jail for going out of control and crashing into a shop and the RSPB ask for jail sentences for keepers and farmers protection their CROP'S!

Get a flipping grip until there is a lawful way of controlling these pests then folk will break the law. Similar to a mobile phone using motorist.

Alan Tilmouth said...

Andy, first up the two things are separate issues, the RSPB don't set sentences for dangerous drivers and most reasonable people would agree that some sentencing is too light.
And in your second sentence therein lies the problem, what you see as a pest I value as a creature of sublime beauty. If we (society) allow individuals to break laws they disagree with we end in anarchy, what's to stop someone shooting your dog because it was a pest and crapped on their lawn? Or shooting Otters because they eat Salmon? That doesn't mean that we shouldn't be prepared to ensure that Farmers who have losses as a result of local biodiversity shouldn't receive some compensation for living in balance with said creatures, that's why RSPB are currently lobbying for CAP reform to benefit crofters whose practices are so beneficial to species such as Corncrake etc

James Marchington said...

Rats, cockroaches and mosquitoes have a certain beauty too. It'd be tragic if they ever became extinct. But I don't hear anyone sticking up for them. Different rules, based on what? Not their conservation status. It can only be their aesthetic appeal to twitchers and springwatch viewers. Oh, and their value to the RSPB's marketing department.

Alan Tilmouth said...

Sorry to diasagree James but for example there was a One Show piece recently by Dilger bigging up the last remaining Black Rats on some remote Scottish Island and I'm sure if I did a quick a google I could probably find a few folk who would support the Cockroach.
The fundamental difference however between the three species you mention is that they all spread diseases that kill humans, birds of prey don't they just reduce the profits of some.

Meconopsis said...

Taken from the Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman's Blog

I spent several satisfying hours with my chainsaw yesterday afternoon. Rogue branches and spindly trees bore the brunt of pent-up frustrations after a long morning in Parliament giving (and listening to) evidence to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

Some of the "evidence" we were subjected to didn't stand any scrutiny and the Committee appeared to recognise it as nothing more than propaganda. One feathered charity rep, for instance, waxed lyrical on what he regarded as the excessive size of pheasant release pens in Scotland, but under questioning admitted he was referring to statistics for "North Britain". Useful, perhaps, for the North British Government?

Statistics were generally in short supply from the anti field sports brigade but when the subject turned to wildlife crime they weren't shy of making up for that in rhetoric and wild accusations. Fortunately there was a legal voice in our midst who firmly pointed out that wildlife crime had to be looked at in the context of criminal law, the presumption of innocence, the concept of reasonable doubt and the rules of evidence. That the law and human rights should apply to gamekeepers appeared to come as a shock to our opponents and blew many of their proposals out of the water.

But undoubtedly they'll regroup and fire more salvos before this Wildlife Bill makes it through Parliament. Why is it that some of the organisations most opposed to blood sports appear to take such satisfaction in bludgeoning those with different views? Could it be that they don't have chainsaws at their disposal?

Proof that a small association of passionate people armed with facts will be listened to.